Title: Substituting wood pellets for coal in large-scale power stations: a dynamic life cycle assessment examination

Authors: Brandon Morrison; Jesse Daystar; Jay S. Golden

Addresses: Division of Research, Economic Development, and Engagement, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA ' Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, NC 27708-0328, USA ' Department of Engineering, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA; Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, NC 27708-0328, USA

Abstract: This study assesses the environmental impacts resulting from the use of wood pellets produced in the Southeastern USA and burned for electricity generation in the UK. A cradle-to-grave, comparative life cycle assessment is performed, comparing electricity produced from wood pellets versus electricity generated from coal. Assuming immediate carbon neutrality of the wood biomass, the results presented here indicate an 86% reduction in climate change impacts when utilising wood pellets as compared to coal. Incorporating the timing of emissions, using dynamic life cycle assessment methodologies, shifts the time horizon of carbon dioxide savings in comparison to emissions from coal. When accounting for the timing of emissions, wood pellets equate to a 94% or 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, depending upon whether the trees utilised for wood pellets are considered to be planted or harvested in year one, respectively, given a 100-year time horizon.

Keywords: renewable energy; bioenergy; life cycle assessment; sustainable systems; dynamic life cycle assessment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGEI.2018.097142

International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 2018 Vol.41 No.5/6, pp.272 - 288

Available online: 24 Dec 2018 *

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